Ludhiana residents rue vax shortage for 18-44 age group at govt hospitals

Ludhiana residents rue vax shortage for 18-44 age group at govt hospitals

A woman gets vaccinated against Covid in Ludhiana on Sunday.

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6

The wait for getting jabbed against Covid for those belonging to the 18-44 age group is getting longer due to shortage in supply of vaccine at government hospitals. Those who can afford the vaccine are switching to private hospitals while the less privileged ones are bearing the brunt.

In the government hospitals, vaccine is given free of cost while in private ones, one has to shell Rs 850 for one dose, putting extra financial burden on residents.

Jasmeen (22) said: “Earlier, the category was not open and now, the vaccine is not available. The vaccine is available for the 45 above category but not for the 18-44 age group. The priority of the government should be to ensure free vaccination for all. I am a citizen and the government should ensure my vaccination, why should I pay for it? All these years we have been paying taxes and now, it is the government’s duty to protect us against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Sudhir Sharma (47), who works with a private firm, said he got vaccinated for free but now, three members of the family are in the 18-44 years’ age group. “I was waiting for the vaccine to arrive at government centres but the stock is not coming. I will have to shell out nearly Rs 5,000 for the doses which is little difficult for me. I will wait for one more week, otherwise I will get them vaccinated on my own,” he said.

Another city resident said since the vaccine was not available in government hospitals, she opted to get vaccinated from a private hospital. “I got both my sons vaccinated from a private hospital and I paid Rs 850 for each of them. Me and my husband had received the vaccine for free,” she said.

District Immunisation Officer Dr Puneet Juneja said the stock of vaccine was expected to arrive in the next week.

Karanjit Singh Soni Galib, president, District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (Rural), has taken up the issue of free vaccination facility for all citizens with President Ram Nath Kovind.

He has submitteda memorandum addressed to the President with the SDM Jagraon. Galib said as per the government data, it has administered 21.31 crore vaccine doses till May 31. But, only 4.45 crore Indians have received both the doses of vaccine, which is only 3.17% of the country’s population. In the past 134 days, the average pace of vaccination is about 16 lakh vaccine doses per day. At this pace, it will take over three years for us to vaccinate our adult population.

“If this is the case, how will we save our fellow citizens from the third wave of Covid,” questioned Galib.

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